An IDF officer opened fire on a Palestinian taxi, killing a 15-year-old boy, and wounding five others. The driver, who was shot in the head, returned from the hospital to discover his work and entry permits had been revoked.
By John Brown*
On Tuesday, June 21 at 1:30 a.m., an officer from the IDF’s Kfir Brigade who was driving on Route 443 in the West Bank stood over a bridge adjacent the road and fired a number of bursts at a taxi that passed below. This took place after Palestinians had reportedly thrown stones in the area. The gunfire killed 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran, while four of his friends were wounded and the driver was shot in the head. They were on their way back from a night out at “Lin Land,” a water park in the village of Beit Sira.
The following morning Israeli news outlets reported that a “15-year-old terrorist” was killed, although very quickly it became clear that the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had lied to the media, and that the officer had fired at innocent passengers. The army even went as far as to take Badran’s fingerprints in order to make sure this was true, according to Attorney Nailah Atia. The officer has yet to be arrested despite opening fire against regulations a number of times.
But the story doesn’t end here. The driver, Ehad Othman, miraculously survived the gunshot to the head, was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and treated there. Atia told +972’s Hebrew sister-site, Local Call, last week that upon his return home, Othman had discovered that not only had his taxi been confiscated, but his work permit and entry permit into Israel had been revoked.
But if that weren’t enough, Israel also revoked Ehad’s brothers’ permits. No explanation was given to them. Their employers reached out to the authorities, saying Ihad, Ahmad, and Hamza were excellent workers — yet nothing helped. Thus, Ehad was prevented from returning to Ichilov for necessary medical procedures, which he was forced to pay for out of his own pocket, since Israel refuses to take responsibility for the incident.
Revocation of permits is a well-known practice used in cases when Palestinians are killed by IDF fire, although usually only during years-long investigations — not when the case of illegal use of fire is so clear cut.
Thus we turned to the Civil Administration to, at the very least, understand the reasoning for revoking the brothers’ permits. The Civil Administration claimed the Shin Bet was responsible for the decision, so we turned to them. The Shin Bet checked the claim, and that same day they responded with the following message:
Your inquiry regarding Mr. Ehad Othman and his brothers, Ahmad and Hamza, was received in our offices and passed on to the relevant security authorities. Following an additional examination of the case it was decided that, at this point, the security restriction on their entry into Israel has been removed.
Just like that.
While we are happy that at least this injustice has been resolved, one cannot help but think about how Israel’s military regime in the West Bank, which arbitrarily abuses its power, goes almost entirely unchecked.
*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger. This story first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call, where he is a blogger. Read it here.